Stephen Beamish

2008 Young Bread Baker of the Year

As the recipient of the 2008 Young Baker of the year award, I was able to use my research grant to take two overseas trips – the first of these was an invitation to attend an expo at Baker Perkins in Peterborough, London. Bakeries from all over the world were represented; including New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden just to name a few.

We spent one of two days touring the Baker Perkins factory with the benefit of well structured presentations and technicians on hand to answer our questions. The bulk of the tour was centred around three new innovative products from Baker Perkins.

1. The tweedy pressure vacuum mixer – Established enhancements and future developments

2. The Accurist 2 Dough Divider – Direct drive controlled server, and

3. The Multitex4 Moulder – Quality benefits within this stage.

It was clear from the start that Baker Perkins have had to adapt to changes in legislation and customers expectations of what quality product is. Equipment now has H&S and Food Safety aspects incorporated into its design albeit sometimes at the cost of efficiency.

The 2nd Day was made up of a site visit to Jackson’s of Hull, a bakery whose sole business is to bake bread for sandwiches. This means that the specs are tight and need to be controlled every step of the way. The plants were initially losing money on branded product and made the decision to close all plants bar one and to expand and upgrade the plant that was left. They even decided to change the product running through their plant and to focus on a market that had few players in it. As a result they are now making record profit and have the largest share of this particular market which extends also into parts of Europe.

My last trip was to the UBE Factory in Compton, Los Angeles where I was able to inspect the new safety features on baggers ordered for the New Zealand market. A tour of the factory gave me an opportunity to see differing stages of the baggers being built. A number of changes have been made around Health and Safety which included a light curtain between the slicer and bagger which stops the machine as soon as the beam is broken. This is currently non existent on our baggers and will decrease the risk factor by 95 - 100%.
Also evident was the fact that UBE have less moving parts in their baggers which means from a food safety aspect there is less areas for grease and crumb to become entrapped.

On the same day I had the opportunity to visit 2 small bakeries, both of which had some interesting concepts that have helped me understand the US bakery market in great depth.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Baking Industry Research Trust for the opportunity to make these trips and I would encourage all emerging bakers to participate in these awards.

Steve Beamish
2008 Young Baker of the Year